Recently I learnt about the unexpected passing of Jane. Many online students at Dalhousie School of Social Work might not know Jane. Still, every instructor who taught in an online social work program appreciated all the instructional design support she provided over the years.
Distance Education Social Work Program at Dalhousie University is transformational for many students in Canada. It is one of the few programs that offer online learning opportunities for social work students across six time zones. Jane ensured that every instructor had needed support and allowed instructors to implement many unique assignments and re-imagine their courses for online delivery. Working together with the Manager of e-learning (Wendy Terris Claus), Jane created wikis, tests, dropboxes, uploaded files, readings and ensured that each course meets accessibility standards and user-friendliness expectations of both students and instructors.
Jane was always willing to help. For example, when I was working in Halifax, Jane reminded me that she was there to support me and I should not worry about the course design as she could organize everything for me in the way I wanted. It was very hard to adjust that Dal’s instructional design support is available. At the University of Manitoba Distance Education Program, instructors follow pre-designed courses. Dalhousie allows every instructor to design the course the way they want to teach it and offer support through having Jane’s and Wendy’s presence to answer any instructional design questions. I loved working with Jane. For every idea I had discussed with Wendy, Jane found a way to put it on Brightspace (course management system) so students can complete assignment requirements.
Jane will be missed as even when I moved from Halifax to Kamloops and came to Dalhousie to attend convocations, Jane was always in her office, smiling and checking how I was doing. We had brief in-person check-ins (we keep an online connection with Jane on LinkedIn), and I was looking forward to seeing Jane again on my next visit to Halifax. Pandemic changed the routine. However, I will keep the most pleasant memories of working with Jane forever. I will keep finding ways to make technology more accessible for both students and instructors and appreciate the knowledge instructional designers bring in course creation process.
Social Work Distance Education Team will miss Jane at Dalhousie as it is tough to imagine the teamwork without Jane. Eternal memory to Jane. Condolences to family, friends and colleagues. Distance education support is critical for student and instructor success in learning and teaching online. Jane made teaching more accessible for all. I will never forget Jane for her care, team spirit, innovation, and being a kind and compassionate person I always looked forward to seeing at Dal School of Social Work. In the picture, Jane supports Dal students during the annual run in October. Jane’s obituary can be found online: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/halifax-ns/jane-gallinaugh-10539709